A traveler’s guide to transportation in Ecuador.
When compared to other Latin American countries,(According to La Republica website a reputable News site in Colombia), Ecuador boasts of having the second-lowest-cost of transportation in the region just after Venezuela. But what are the most convenient means of getting around in Ecuador?
The most convenient means would be through the use of public transport such as using a bus or a taxi depending on the place where someone needs to go, the urgency of your trip, time of the day and the degree of necessity for comfortability.
Having traveled almost through the whole country to even the most remote areas of Amazon, these are the best recommendations for getting around in Ecuador.
PUBLIC BUSES IN ECUADOR.
This is the commonest and cheapest means of transport around the whole country. The cost ranges from $0.25 to 0.40 cents across the country. These buses are supervised by the Ministry of Public transport of Ecuador and they are owned both by government and private individuals. They are present in every part of the country from the biggest cities to the most remote areas of the rural area.
Their schedule runs from 5 am to 9 pm although you may have to confirm with the schedule of the province and city where you are planning to travel to or from. They contain a capacity of 30 seats and while at full capacity, they can accommodate 60 people though in some cases the number may exceed that, especially in rush hours of morning and evening hours during the schooling season days.
They are 100% safe. They are well equipped with functioning cameras and hind switches/bells to notify the driver that you want to step off. You can be dropped off anywhere along the route provided there is space for you to disembark.
|PROS OF USING PUBLIC BUSES.||CONS OF USING PUBLIC BUSES.|
|1. They are very cheap compared to other means and they don’t increase their fare momentarily. A bus that works on town service basis charges between $0.25 to 0.4 cents regardless of the time or place.|
2. They are available in most parts of the country including big cities and small remote towns in the country.
3. You can get dropped off anywhere along the route without much inconvenience.
4. Using these buses is a great way to take a look at the beauty of the country.
|1. Their schedule is limited. In most parts of the country, they do not exceed 10 pm.|
2. Sometimes pickpockets take advantage and rob people on the bus, especially during times when they are at full capacity. This happens every once in a while in cities so be aware.
3. They are not very suitable if you want to get around very fast. A route that would take a taxi 5 minutes may take 25 minutes while on a bus.
4. At times there is a lot of noise from hawkers and street comedians who try to make an income while on the bus.
5. They are not the right choice if you have luggage. The luggage spaces are very sketchy and too small to accommodate reasonably sized luggage.
Recommendations for using public buses
1. Always know the number you are supposed to take based on your destination. If you don’t know, ask around or talk to the driver.
2. Be mindful of your valuable items like money and cell phones since pickpocketing occurs especially in large cities.
3. Have smaller bills or coins to ease the conductor’s job.
4. Offer to give the seat to the vulnerable person. It is a sign of courtesy in Ecuadorian culture.
When are buses the most suitable means of transport?
They are the most suitable for short routes in both cities and towns across the country.
TAXIS IN ECUADOR.
These are one of my favorite means when I want to get around at times when I am visiting a place for the first time. These taxis are for special hire and roam the streets all the time. All you have to do is to wave your hand for it to stop. There is a possibility of negotiating the transport fare or the fare can be automatically calculated by a taximeter. They have a 24hour schedule and can reach every nook and cranny in any part of the country including parts that may not be motorable by buses. They are yellow. The taxi drivers are very communicative if you are interested in some gossip or the latest news around the country and can speak Spanish.
It is recommended to negotiate the fare before you start the journey as they may charge you exorbitantly, especially at times when there is no taximeter in that case.
The majority of them have CCTV cameras for passenger safety and security.
PROS OF USING TAXIS
1. They are the best means for anyone who is carrying luggage or anything delicate since they are spacious.
2. Using a tax is much quicker if you have an appointment to get to during the rush hours.
3. In cities with high temperatures, using a taxi is much more comfortable because they have an A.C.
4. They are very safe. There is no risk of getting robbed while in a taxi.
5. During COVID pandemic times, they do have a protective shield between the passenger and the taxi driver to safeguard against infection.
6. They work around the clock. You can board a taxi any time of the day at any place.
CONS OF USING TAXIS
1. They at times charge exorbitant fares for long distances especially if there is no taximeter.
2. They are risky for solo women travelers in very rare cases at night. My best recommendation would be to board a taxi with a logo of a taxi company and ask for some identification.
Recommendations for using taxis.
1. Always use taxis in yellow color. Do not board private cars pausing as taxi drivers. These may be kidnappers or thieves.
2. Negotiate the transport fare beforehand if the taxi does not have a taximeter.
3. In case of overspeeding, you can caution the taxi driver. They are willing to listen to the passengers.
4. For your security, If you are traveling late at night in remote areas, ask the taxi driver to wait for you until you enter to avoid attackers.
5. You can use an app to order a taxi from the comfort of your home.
When are taxis the most suitable means of transport?
Taxis are the perfect choice if you are looking at traveling fast and comfortable short routes in both urban and rural Ecuador while carrying some luggage.
COACHES IN ECUADOR.
For all the times when I have had to take longer trips around Ecuador, these have been the ultimate choice. Coaches normally have specific destinations and are always on schedule. Their place of departure is normally a bus terminal and their destination is a bus terminal too. They are normally driven by highly experienced drivers with an assistant who may help with passengers and luggage handling. They are available across the whole country.
They range from normal coaches to high-end double-story super buses. Bus companies handle luggage with professionalism and care and there is no risk of the loss of luggage due to their baggage identification system which ensures that you disembark with the luggage you own. The majority of these buses have a restroom on board, wifi service, CCTV camera, luggage cabin, and USB ports for cellphone charging.
When are coaches the most suitable means of transport?
These are the best means if you are traveling from one province to another if you are not under a tight schedule and if you are interested in enjoying the beauty of the country.
Recommendations for using coaches.
1. Book a ticket a day before to avoid last-minute disappointments as some areas have just a single bus.
2. While booking you can select your preferred seat whether near the window or in the aisle.
3. You have to ask for the easiest means to get to the terminal a day before your time of departure to avoid delays.
4. You have to arrive 30 minutes before because you may be left behind. The bus drivers are time conscious.
5. These buses can take 1hr to 13 hours journeys both in and out of the country.
6. Have both your ticket and identification ready before you travel.
7. You can carry as much luggage as you won’t provide it fits into the baggage section of the bus without extra cost.
CABLE CARS IN ECUADOR.
These were introduced in the province of Pichincha in the city of Quito in 2005 and in the province of Guayas in the city of Guayaquil in 2019. The main reason why they were introduced by the Municipal council of the city was to ease transport and solve the problem of traffic which paralyzes activities in the city during rush hours.
They have 6 seats. They are equipped with CCTV cameras. Every 1km, they stop for loading and unloading passengers. They travel from and around the city center in Guayaquil then finally to Duran. The charge is $0.7. They work from 5 am to 11 pm. The main objective to introduce them was to reduce the time of traveling, something which has been achieved. According to the city transport authority, a total of 40,000 passengers use these cable cars daily.
PROS OF USING CABLE CARS.
1. They are not accident prone compared to other means of transport in Guayaquil.
2. They are safe given the fact that they have CCTV cameras. So female solo passengers are safe too.
3. They are a very fast way of getting around the city without much rush.
4. These cable cars are a great way to have a bird’s eye view of the city if you don’t
have fear of heights.
5. They can be used any part of the day due to their 24hr availability.
CONS OF USING CABLE CARS.
1. They are not suitable for passengers who suffer from acrophobia(fear of heights)
2. They are limited to specific parts of Guayaquil and not the whole city of Guayaquil. This is the same case for the one in Quito.
3. They are a little more costly compared to the public bus by $0.3 more.
Recommendations for using cable cars.
1. You can either pay in cash or purchase an aero card for 2$ which you can use to access the cable car.
2. It operates between 5 am to 11 pm so be very mindful of the time.
3. In case of danger there is a panic button at your disposal.
4. Always avoid them if you are afraid of heights and putting up with strangers for long.
When are cable cars the most suitable means of transport?
If you want to enjoy your time in parts of Quito and Guayaquil then board a cable car. They are very cheap and a good platform for cutting traffic while sightseeing.
SHUTTLES IN ECUADOR
These are a perfect choice for schools and colleges for transporting students and teachers. They are yellow and some have the size of a minibus or a minivan. Some of them can accommodate 14 passengers while others can carry as many as 20 people.
These shuttles can be rented on a daily/weekly/monthly basis. Just like taxis, the majority are yellow. If you are a group of tourists, you can rent one and have it for all the days you would want to. The daily cost ranges from $35 for a full day
PROS OF USING SHUTTLES
1. They are always on time so you will not have any inconveniences of late arrival.
2. They are very flexible compared to other means. You can have a shuttle the whole day if you desire so.
3. They can be utilized any time of the day.
4. They can be used to reach every part of the country even the deep jungles of the Amazon.
5. They are convenient for solo or group traveling.
Recommendations for using shuttles.
1. Always plan your journey. Contact the driver ahead of the schedule to avoid last-minute delays.
2. Use a service that will allow you some flexibility in your journey. You can agree on this at the time of contracting them.
4. Agree beforehand whether they will wait for you to return to your place of departure.
5. Work out some agreement on all the nitty-gritty of the journey to avoid misunderstandings midway through the trip.
When are shuttles the most suitable means of transport?
If you are traveling as a group, using these shuttles would be the most ideal thing to do. They can access all the remote areas of the country with ease.
TRICYCLES IN ECUADOR.
These are one of the most affordable means of transport. They are three-wheeled. They can be occupied by 2 to 3 average-sized people. They are normally manned by young men. They charge $0.5 as the minimum fare for an average distance.
They can be found in the most rural towns of various provinces.
PROS OF USING TRICYCLES
1. They are cheap compared to other means of transport.
2. In the rural parts of the country they are the most convenient means for getting around.
3. Since they have a save for average cargo, you can use them for transport while returning from a supermarket.
CONS OF TRICYCLES
1. They are not accessible in most parts of the country. The majority of the cities banned their use to minimize traffic.
2. They are a bit risky to use especially in very busy towns on roads used by trailers and buses since they are mostly handled by inexperienced individuals.
Recommendations for using tricycles.
1. Always ask the rider in charge to ride responsibly, especially on busy streets.
2. Do not expect to access them in all parts of the country.
When are tricycles the most suitable means of transport?
If you are looking for affordability in parts of rural Ecuador, then get a tricycle to help you get around.
AIR TRANSPORT IN ECUADOR
The country boasts of having 30 airports nationwide at least one in every province or just nearby the best two being Mariscal Sucre International Airport in Quito which is the Gateway to the country and Jose Joaquin de Olmedo International Airport. There are local flights that can be booked for travelers who are on a tight schedule.
Airlines in Ecuador
1. Tame which is the national airline.
2. Latam airlines which is the biggest airline in South America and part of Latam Chile.
3. Avianca airline has the largest fleet and the third biggest airline on the continent.
Latam has the most affordable local flights due to its economies of scale given the fact that it operates across the whole continent.
PROS OF USING AIR TRANSPORT
1. It is the most suitable means for travelers on a tight schedule and those looking for comfort.
2. The risk of accidents is almost non-existent.
3. For interprovincial transport, this is the most suitable means if you want to get around fast.
4. If you are traveling to the province, this is the most appropriate means since water transport may cause delays.
CONS OF USING AIR TRANSPORT.
1. It is way more expensive if compared to other means like road and water.
2. It is not accessible in some provinces without airports.
3. For travelers who are used to carrying a lot of luggage, some of it may not be allowed onboard like electronic devices, sharp tools like knees and scissors, etc.
Recommendations for using air transport.
Pretty much what applies to air transport across the globe applies in Ecuador too.
When are planes the most suitable means of transport?
Using a plane is the most ideal choice if you want comfort and speed. You have to check if the province you are in has an airport just nearby.
Some of the car rental companies can be contacted via these websites
TAXI APPS IN ECUADOR.
All these apps are available for both Android and iOS.
Depending on the time of travel, the area where you are going, and urgency, choose the means that will give you comfort, enable you to look around and at the same time have value for the money.